Introduction Being a leader is a very important skill to have. Some people are natural leaders due to the way they were raised and the way they approach situations and others. A leader is a person with “the ability to rule, guide, or inspire others to think or act as they recommend and influences others to work together to accomplish a specific goal” (Pearson, 2489). A leader is someone who people look up to and respect. The following is an example of just one person who I believe is a strong, respectable, leader.
Leadership Journey When I think of a leader, there are many people who come to mind but the person I interviewed was Kellyn Himebauch who is a registered nurse at Lakeview Specialty Hospital and Rehab in Waterford, WI. Kellyn graduated from UW-Platteville with a Bachelor’s in animal science and also has her Associate’s in nursing from Gateway Technical College. She may not have as much education or experience as other nurses at the facility but she is seen as a leader by many of her coworkers.
Kellyn works as a floor nurse, PRN charge nurse, and even conducts the facility’s orientation program where she helps train new hires. She influences others and helps to achieve the facility’s goals. She is well-liked and others have no problem going to her when they have questions/problems that need to be answered. Her leadership journey began at a young age because she grew up on a family farm where she was raised to expect her elders, shake hands, make eye contact, and work hard. Kellyn grew up showing livestock around the nation and serving on leadership teams throughout high school and college.
She believes those values have overlapped into her nursing career and have had a strong impact on her leadership role (Himebauch, 2017). Leadership Qualities Tracey talks about seven leadership qualities of all great leaders. These qualities include: vision, courage, integrity, humility, strategic planning, focus and cooperation (Tracey, 2016). Kellyn described herself as an observer. She explained how she likes to listen to both sides and all the facts/information before deciding what to do. She likes to strategically plan her vision and how she is going to get the task accomplished.
She is very patientfocused and has worked at the same facility for six years so she has a good understanding of both the patients and her coworkers. Kellyn is also very humble because she has the patient’s best interests in mind when solving problems and caring for the patients. She is well-respected by her peers and everyone easily cooperates with her to work towards a common goal. These characteristics go hand in hand with Ramsey’s 12 Leadership Tips for When You’re Not the Boss: being goal oriented, practicing humility, having excellent communication skills, listening more, and speaking up (Ramsey, 2016).
Change is generally resisted and it is important for a leader, such as Kellyn, to embrace the change, lead by example and make your expectations about the change known so others can follow. This helps the changes to be implemented efficiently and smoothly. Kellyn exhibits all these qualities which makes her a strong, dependable leader. Bennis talks about six leadership qualities which include: dedication, magnanimity, humility, humility, openness, and creativity (Bennis, 2003). Kellyn exhibits all these qualities but if I had to pick one or two that really describe her, I would choose humility and dedication.
She is willing to listen to everyone’s opinions and she fits Bennis’ definition of humility: “recognizing that you are not inherently superior to others and consequently that they are not inferior to you. It does not mean diminishing yourself, nor does it mean exalting yourself” (Bennis, 2003). Kellyn also works closely with the Director of Quality, chief nursing officer, charge nurses, and several committees to “monitor different areas such as patient satisfaction surveys, JACHO monitoring requirements, error reports, and annual evaluations.
During the meetings, the group discusses what is valuable and what tactics are useful to the facility and what has been working well. They also troubleshoot what isn’t working and why and then brainstorm ideas to improve the process. It often takes time and a few meetings to vote on a process change and to start the implementation process” (Himebauch, 2017). This is an example of how Kellyn is dedicated to her job and wants to go above and beyond to have her voice heard and to help the facility be the best it can be. She dedicates herself to success and to leading others with her down that path.
Leadership Theories There are two different leadership theories that describe Kellyn. First, according to Pearson (2015), I believe Kellyn is an example of a situational leader. She “is flexible in task and relationship behaviors, considers the staff members’ abilities, knows the nature of the task to be done, and is sensitive to the context or environment in which the task takes place” (p. 2490). She is flexible and listens to people’s opinions when trying to get a task done. She has been with the same facility for many years and is aware of the way the facility functions and the abilities of other staff members.
Due to Kellyn being a member of different groups that evaluate the quality and efficacy of the staff and facility, she is well aware of what needs to be accomplished and how to implement the change. She gets everyone to work together and leads by example. Second, according to Pearson (2015), Kellyn is a part of shared leadership “professional workforce is made up of many leaders and no one individual is believed to have knowledge or ability beyond that of other members of the work group” (p. 2490). This type of leadership is relevant but not totally true.
Nurses work together and consult each other to get things done. It is important to talk with others to get varying opinions. Kellyn believes “Effective communication is key when developing and implementing a new change. Without effective communication, the process, policy or change that is trying to be implemented will be set up for failure. It takes a team to implement a new change, not just one person” (Himebauch, 2017). It is important to be aware that other opinions are valid and can help to discover better ways to do things.
Shared leadership is very relevant in the healthcare profession as well as teamwork. Conclusion My final question for Kellyn was about any advice she had for college students who are starting their leadership journey. She related her advice to someone who is entering the healthcare field. She suggested that you picture yourself as a nonhealthcare provider who had to call 911 for a family member who is unresponsive, first responders come and you have to put all your faith and trust in them to make sure your loved one comes back to life.
She then wants you to imagine the same scenario and apply it to your future job as an RN and picture how scared your patient’s loved ones are and how much trust they have in you to care for them. Kellyn thinks it is very important to give one hundred percent all day, every day for your patients. If that is something you cannot picture yourself doing, she would suggest you consider a different profession (Himebauch, 2017). Kellyn wants people to be the best they can be and care for others the way you would want your own family members to be treated.
She also thinks it is important to grow within your company and career. Take any opportunities that come your way and embrace the challenge. If you are being suggested for a leadership position, it is likely that others look up to you and would respect you as a leader. I strongly believe it is important to take on these roles and challenge yourself to be a leader. I will take what I have learned from Kellyn with me throughout my nursing career and hope I can be an example of a strong leader for others to look up to.